#4.5 Not Second Best




No more solos for this heart.

Watching Brian get married, happily married, has to be the most depressing thing Tessa has ever witnessed. Not that she would deny Brian or Suzi their happiness, but it meant once and for all Brian wasn’t chasing her anymore. Suddenly, it felt like nobody was chasing her anymore. Slinking out of the wedding, she encounters another lost soul.

Brett had been the one to rescue Suzi from a bad spot the year before. His reputation as a party animal had been wearing thin before and now the loss of Suzi to another man, even a man he admired who he knew would take care of her, hurt. So when Tessa suggests the best way to heal a broken heart would be to rebound, together, he jumps at the chance.

But Brett is not willing to come second to anybody and Tessa isn’t either.


“I knew you’d be frisky enough.” Then she pulled away and rinsed off. “I’ve never heard of this place. How did you find it?”

“One of the guys my mom went with brought her here.”

“Oh?” Tessa lifted her hair and rolled her neck under the hot water. “She was a back-up singer, wasn’t she?”


“ODed about ten years ago?”

“How did you know?”

Opening her eyes, she turned off the water. “My job is to know things.”

“About me?” Brett followed her out of the shower. He’d thought he went after her at the reception, but maybe it was the other way around. She was smart. Maybe she’d lured him outside.

“When you and Suzi took off together, Jason had me trying to find you. Best place to start looking was your past. Your dad is a nice guy.” She walked out of the bathroom still dripping.

“My dad?”

“I called him trying to find you. So how did you end up being the guy to rescue Suzi?” She shoved open the patio door and stepped outside.

“Right place, right time.”

Tessa cocked an eyebrow at him. “And she just ran off with you.”

“When we were on tour, I got to know her and I happened to be right there when she needed to leave.” Brett hoped the heat on his face was sun and not blush.

“You wanted to get next to her.”

“Fuck yes, I did.” Blush. Definitely. “With a nickname like Randy Mirandy and a hot bod like hers, who wouldn’t.”

“Indeed.” Tessa stepped into the infinity pool and settled where she could stare out over the desert.

Brett clambered into the water next to her. This place was his refuge. After he came here with Suzi, it had also been his place to regret. He’d spent hours soaking in this pool wondering what kind of moron he’d been to let Suzi get away and if there had been anything he could have done to stop it. “What about you? You knew Brian since he was a kid. He was married before. Why’s it a crisis now?”

Tessa lifted one leg, put it down and lifted the other, pointing her toe at the sky before lowering it back into the water. “Brian had a huge crush on me when he was a kid. Well, up until he was about twenty-two, but I wasn’t interested.”

“So now you want what some other chick has?”

“No,” Tessa snapped, glaring at him. “It’s just an ego blow that he’s not going to be following me around anymore.”

“Right. Who do you expect to believe that?”

“Fuck you.”

“In a little bit. I’m comfortable now.”

Tessa slouched in the corner. “I just can’t believe all those guys got married like that. Bear and Maureen. Jason and Cassie. Marc and Alex. Now Brian and Suzi. Another one bites the dust. I’ve known all those guys since we were kids.”

“Ty’s not hitched up yet.”

“He’s probably meeting his one true love as we speak. I’ll be running background checks on her tomorrow. My mother is dating a guy from Cassie’s hometown. Connie’s even dating.”

“Who’s Connie?”

“My sister.”

“Everybody’s married but you.”

“I don’t want to be married.” She growled.

Brett held up his hands. “Hey, don’t look at me. I’m not looking for a wife here either.” He eased into the water. “I love this place.”

“It’s nice. Very relaxing. What made you bring Suzi here?”

“I knew a shitload of people would be hunting for her and she needed some time away. Nobody would look for her here.”

“This where she had her miscarriage?”


“That must have been rough.”

“I took care of her.” Brett shrugged. He remembered standing outside the bathroom door fretting about what to do. She didn’t want him to call a doctor, but she was in so much pain. And then she cried all night. Holding her and not being able to do a damn thing to help her had sucked, but it had been better than standing outside a door not able to do anything.

“She’s one of those women who doesn’t have babies easy. Brian’s already got the two so he doesn’t care.”

“Do we have to talk about Brian all the time?”

“I thought that’s why we were here. Because we both came in second.”

“Then maybe we should call Logan. He came in second too.”

Tessa shrugged. “Go ahead if you want to, but I’m over my orgy phase. You two have fun. You can sit around and talk about how perfect Suzi is.”

“Suzi’s really nice.” Brett scowled. Suzi was nice. Really friendly and approachable. Every time she’d come out on the road during that tour, she’d found time to sit and talk even though Logan wanted her chained to his wrist whenever he was offstage. Tessa could be as bitchy as she wanted, but she better not start talking shit about Suzi.

“I know. She’s a great girl. Always has been. Did you know she tried to patch up Brian and Bonnie’s marriage? I could have told her it was a waste of time.”

Brett couldn’t decide which was worse. Talking about Brian or talking about Suzi. “I’m hungry. I’m going to order some dinner. You want anything?”

Tessa frowned at the desert. “Rum and Coke. Steak, well done. Baked potato, butter, no sour cream. Steamed summer squash. And chocolate frosting.”

“Frosting without the cake?”

She smiled at him. “It’s for later.”

Brett grinned back. At least if she was going to torture him by talking about Brian and Suzi, she was going to make up for it.


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